Pratchett, Terry: (08) Guards! Guards!

I brought Terry Pratchett’s Guards! Guards! with me over Christmas because I knew family holidays tend to be somewhat hectic, and re-reading in those circumstances works better than reading. Besides, I’d been meaning to re-read the Watch books after reading Night Watch.

Guards! Guards! is the first book about the Watch of Ankh-Morpork, which was once a police force but, at the start of the book, is down to a few ineffective misfits. Then a new recruit arrives, and someone puts the city under threat by summoning a dragon, and the Watch begins to change . . .

I can now report that while we don’t meet Vetinari’s aunt in the first Watch book, she does get mentioned; Vetinari lacks a daughter whose hand he could offer in marriage as a reward for dragon-slaying, and wonders if an aunt is an acceptable substitute . . . No indication of Vetinari’s age that I saw, which was the other thing I was wondering about.

It’s interesting to see how far Vimes has come, as a character, and also how far he fell from his past-rookie-self of Night Watch. The Patrician’s deliberate weakening of the Watch, prior to Guards! Guards!, also appear in a different light in that context; it will be interesting to re-read the expansion of the Watch and the dynamics of the Patrician’s interactions with Vimes and Carrot. Also, this is just a fun book; not the best Discworld book, but solid and entertaining.

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  1. I forgot to say about Guards! Guards!, that the dedication for the book also shows that the themes of Night Watch were in Pratchett’s mind from the start the sub-series:

    They may be called the Palace Guard, the City Guard, or the Patrol. Whatever their name, their purpoes in any work of heroic fantasy is identical: it is, round about Chapter Three (or ten minutes into the film) to rush into the room, attack the hero one at a time, and be slaughtered. No-one ever asks them if they wanted to.

    This book is dedicated to those fine men.

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